More Meetings With Remarkable Men.
there is a time in your life when you are most susceptible to influence.
for me it was age 14 when the path of my life was altered forever
in part by the person I was about to meet.
the david bowie sound and vision tour of 1990
was first class all the way;
only the finest hotels,
a comfortable tour bus stuffed with goodies,
a crew of people attending your every need,
and Lee Iacocca's private gulfstream jet.
everyone should be blessed with that experience once in life.
we were in one of my favorite U.S. cities Philadelphia
for a five-day stay at the plush Four Seasons hotel,
playing four shows at the Spectrum Arena.
the lobby featured a large open bar area with big soft sofas.
everywhere there were discreet fans trying to be invisible.
I was having the time of my life because my girlfriend martha
had flown in from florida to visit for a few days.
martha and I left the lobby bar and stepped into the quiet elevator.
on Floor 3 the door opened and in walked Angie Dickinson
looking every bit the true movie star.
elegantly sexy and ageless.
I thought of her with John Wayne in Rio Bravo.
('hey sheriff, you forgot your pants').
martha broke the silence, "you're so beautiful!".
angie replied, "well, thank you. so are you".
on july 11 david's tour manager confirmed the rumor
Paul McCartney was staying on the top floor of the hotel
in the Presidential Suite and he told me the room number.
I called. Paul answered the phone,
"hello is Paul there?"
"this is Paul."
"is Paul there?"
"this IS Paul".
gulp. "I'm david bowie's guitarist and I was..."
"well, david's here right now, why don't you come up for tea?".
when the elevator door opened on the top floor
there stood a man in a suit and headset, looking very FBI-like.
at the end of the long hallway stood his twin brother agent
in front of a grand looking doorway with the words
"Presidential Suite" etched over top.
walking down the long hall I heard them whisper in their headsets,
"guitar player. bowie."
I knocked on the door. Paul answered it.
"what's that you've got behind your back, luv?
david said he'd be mad at you if you didn't bring your new CD".
from inside the room I heard laughing.
it's true I had brought the meager offering of my newest CD
young lions which I sheepishly handed over.
the room was indeed presidential, fit for rock royalty.
two large couches formed an upside down backwards L shape
which opened out into a large kitchen area.
big vases of flowers and fruit.
on the couch in front of an expansive window
sat david and his ever-present assistant Coco Schwab.
most of the time david is such a gifted conversationalist
but in the presence of a Beatle he was strangely quiet.
I felt as though the conversation was between me and Paul
who stood near the window the whole time,
laughing and telling stories.
I have studied, read, collected, heard, and absorbed
so much Beatle mythology I felt as if I had lived his life.
he would start a story and I would finish it.
Paul would say,
"in 1960 we were in hamburg and george got himself
thrown out of the country," and I would say,
"for being seventeen with no work permit."
both david and I suffered from fear of flying
(I've since overcome my fear).
we wondered had Paul had such an experience.
"in the early days when the Beatles toured so much, yes,
but I'd cure it with a couple of martinis."
as with all artists Paul was most animated
about what he was doing next,
his orchestral piece Liverpool Oratorio.
my shining moment came when he mentioned he was
working with new york arranger/composer Carl Davis.
immediately I sang a few bars of Carl Davis music
..da da dada...da which shocked Paul.
he couldn't believe anyone knew Carl Davis's music
much less was able to sing it*.
at one point Linda came in with a tray and asked,
"who would like some tea?".
Linda McCartney serving me tea.
more stories, more laughter.
I thought, "lord, take me now. it can't get any better."
it was all over in forty-five minutes.
looking at the back cover of young lions Paul asked if heartbeat
was the same "heartbeat" by Buddy Holly (a song he no doubt owns).
"no, it's just a little thing I wrote."
I fumbled to say something meaningful
as we moved toward the door,
but what do you say to someone who seriously
changed the course of your life?
only later that evening having dinner with martha
did I finally get twitchy about meeting Paul McCartney
whose music within and without the Beatles
has been that important to me and most everyone I know.
* I knew how to sing the orchestral theme from a TV series Carl Davis wrote the music for. there were 39 episodes of World At War and being a world war II buff I faithfully watched them all many times. the series was narrated by sir laurence olivier.